When scientific realities and career risk clash…what should professionals do?

| 26 November 2015
Blog & Articles

Leading climate scientist, Kevin Anderson published a “must read” article in “Nature Geosciences” (12 Oct 2015). The full article is behind a paywall, but most of it is on Anderson’s blog.  Anderson gives this very timely warning to climate scientists:

“The value of science is undermined when we adopt questionable assumptions and fine-tune our analysis to conform to dominant political and economic sensibilities. The pervasive inclusion of speculative negative emission technologies to deliver politically palatable 2°C mitigation is but one such example. Society needs scientists to make transparent and reasoned assumptions, however uncomfortable the subsequent conclusions may be for the politics of the day.”

But what does this mean for ESG investment professionals who have similar career incentives to promote investment products and processes which they probably know, in their hearts of hearts, are not really the best thing their organisations could be doing to manage climate-related systemic risk.